Analysis: Amid Challenge By ‘O.J.’, HBO Retains Emmys Crown

HBO wins top prizes with ‘Veep’ and ‘Thrones’, but FX holds its own
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Related: Emmys 2016—Complete List of Winners

It was a big night for FX’s American Crime Story installment The People v. O.J. Simpson, which led all shows in Emmys won during the primetime telecast. But in the end, HBO assumed its throne by retaining best comedy (Veep) and best drama (Game of Thrones) honors.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 68th primetime awards on ABC and got high marks from the crowd for his humor. The late night host looked quite at home on broadcast’s big, fancy stage, and seemed to hit just the right level of acerbic wit without eliciting groans.

Kimmel presaged the eve’s big winners near the top of the telecast. “If your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco in it, go home now,” he said.

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HBO and FX tied with six Emmys apiece Sunday night. HBO rules the roost every year (it won 14 last year), and so it was an extraordinary showing for FX. Game of Thrones won three on the night, while The People v. O.J. won five.

One bummer for FX is the critically adored Fargo, which did not win during the primetime telecast, suffering the misfortune of being in the same limited series category as The People v. O.J.

Winning two apiece Sunday were HBO’s Veep and Amazon’s Transparent.

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Netflix won three Emmys Sunday. PBS, Amazon and NBC picked up two. ABC grabbed one, while CBS was shut out of the awards given out Sunday, though the network did win three Creative Arts Emmys.

Last year’s Emmys telecast saw an impassioned Viola Davis of How to Get Away With Murder push for more opportunity for women of color. This year, Jeffrey Tambor of Transparent urged networks and directors to “give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions, give them their story.”

The producers behind HBO’s winners saluted the network for supporting their creative visions. Veep’s David Mandel said other networks, in his experience, hire producers they can boss around. Of HBO, he said, “My experience is, even when they have notes, their notes are suggestions.”

D.B. Weiss of Game of Thrones, stepping to the stage with David Benioff to claim top writing in a drama series,  thanked HBO for its “support in keeping this giant lizard flying.”

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